Learning from the problems of college basketball practices

Originally published in the Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter, 7.8. Subscribe here

Because of my books, clinics, and travel, I know coaches and players from Canada and Europe who develop with FIBA rules and matriculate to the United States to play college basketball. Increasingly, I hear from these sources that college basketball is boring. These players appreciate the opportunity to play basketball and receive a free education, but they are dissatisfied, especially with the coaching and the practices. They cannot wait for the season to end, although they plan to play in Europe after graduation. In the most recent instances, this angst has nothing to do with playing time, team’s success, or other issues that lead to common complaints; one player leads her team in minutes on a league champion, and another is the team’s best player and likely all-league selection.  […]

Coaching the individual: Contrast not compare

Contrast, don’t compare. When I speak to parents, this is one of the lessons that I share. Contrast your son or daughter from a previous moment of time until now to measure improvement and see how he or she is progressing, but do not compare your child to another child. Children develop and learn at different rates. Each child, each player is an individual, and should be treated as an individual. This is one of the most important lessons that I learned as a young coach from the HoopMasters director Jerome Green. […]

How do we develop talented players?

The NBA is not a development league; it is a competition, and most teams strive to win as many games as possible to reach the playoffs and ultimately win an NBA Championship. However, few players are finished products, and many players enter the NBA barely out of their teens, which means that continued player development is imperative for continued team success. Therefore, coaches not on the 76ers have a balancing act: Win games and develop young players to continue to win games.  […]

Applying lessons from the tennis lab to the basketball court

Every singles tennis match is bound by the same dimensions…. yet each one is a laboratory for innovation, unrestrained by a risk-averse coach or the conflicting desires of teammates (Bialik, 2016).

Basketball often is compared to the improvisational nature of jazz, but it tends to be played more like a well-practiced orchestra with a conductor standing and controlling the action as much as possible. Innovation is more difficult when someone conducts your actions from the sideline, and deviation from the rehearsed plan often is met with disgust and a quick substitution rather than celebrated for its creativity, as it would be in jazz. […]